Penalty kill key in Flyers' win over Rangers

Penalty kill key in Flyers' win over Rangers

January 24, 2013, 11:45 pm
Share This Post

First, Sean Couturier raced down the ice to tie the puck up in the corner against three New York Rangers.

Then, he hustled back up the ice, got into his lane and made a diving lunge at a puck.

Of the Rangers' full two-minute, 5-on-3 power play, Couturier, Max Talbot and Braydon Coburn were the threesome on the ice for most of it.

And when they killed it, the Flyers had the one necessary element that would carry them to a 2-1 win -- their first victory of the season (see game recap).

“I mean it was a big part of the win,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “They came out and scored the power-play goal early in the third.

“To go right back down for four [minutes] shortly after that and then two minutes inside of that four … I do think it is a significant part of the win tonight.”

Clearly, it was the Flyers’ best PK effort so far and let’s face it, their PK units have been only slightly less worrisome than their power play.

“Penalty killing is a big part of the game and the difference in the game, and we did a good job killing that 5-on-3,” Couturier said. “It made the difference.”

He was a one-man wrecking ball on that kill.

“It was a tiring, long shift,” Couturier said. “You gotta find a way to find the energy to block shots or get it down the ice, and I think overall the whole team did a good job of that.”

Talbot credited Couturier’s hustle in tying up the puck at the other end, then skating back up ice to defend again.

“That’s huge,” Talbot said. “That’s what killing penalties is all about. We definitely have the character here to do it and tonight it showed.”

Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov had a couple of saves during that stretch, one on Rick Nash, the other on Derek Stepan.

“He made a really good save on Stepan and Nash,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said. “It's just too deliberate. We're simply not getting enough big plays from our top guys in that type of situation.

“That's the frustrating part. I think we may be able to steal a point if we get something happening here.”

Loose pucks
Had the Flyers lost, it would have been their first 0-4 start in franchise history. Their current 1-3-0 record matches their record after the first four games of the 1994-95 strike-shortened season. ... Brian Smith PR special: Couturier’s line of himself (20 years, one month), Tye McGinn (22 years and five months) and Scott Laughton (18 years, seven months), had an average age of 20 years, four months and was comprised entirely of players born in the 1990s. ... The win snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Rangers. The Flyers’ last win over them came Feb. 20, 2011. ... Claude Giroux led all Flyers forwards with 23:11 ice time. ... Wayne Simmonds led the Flyers with six shots. He has 15 this season, which ranks seventh in the NHL, pending the end of tonight’s games. ... Eric Wellwood's unit with Jody Shelley and Tom Sestito combined for five hits.